A short while ago I was asked why I fight corruption in Colorado. Here are the initial causes.
1. About ten years ago I began noticing the huge numbers of deer and elk in the area surrounding where I live and the massive damage they created. I became a wildlife law expert and started THINK. The state of Colorado has detailed laws to deal with this mankind-created environmental hazard but government officials simply refuse to perform their fiduciary and lawful duties. Unprovided remedies include providing “game damage” prevention materials, state liability for damage or failure to provide adequate damage prevention, permits to kill animals causing excessive damage, and annual reports to the General Assembly on numbers of animals, number of damage complaints, herd objectives, etc. Employees of the (now) Division of Parks and Wildlife do not do what they are required to do.
2. Employees of the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning department refuse to enforce their own rules. The county–the local government in Evergreen–has good, modern, updated zoning requirements. The problem is that they will not enforce them, even when notified (citizen notification is the only potential avenue for enforcement). Illegal signs, outbuildings, fences, lights, etc. are the norm. I am stumped as to why local government officials believe the virtual lack of zoning enforcement is a good thing and why and how they think they can get away with it.
3. By far the worst corruption I have ever seen is from Ted Mink and the Jefferson County Sheriff”s Department. Corruption is worst when it is by law enforcement employees . Crime is rampant in the Jefferson County foothills of Colorado. I have been told specifically that if I continue to report crime I will be in “danger.” On three firm occasions (and up to seven less “firm”) after reporting crimes sheriff’s deputies have come to my home to threaten me. There are no patrols. Speeding (50 mph in a 20 mph residential area), dumping, illegal use of parks, harassing neighbors, vandalism, etc. are the norm. Often when calling there is no response at all. There are no patrols. The sheriff’s department response to citizen complaints is clearly one of retaliation. And, to make matters worse, the local district attorney’s office refuses to prosecute–or even investigate–police misconduct and abuse.
These are just the reasons for getting me started… I have lived in or spent significant time in something like fourteen states. I have never experienced any like it. Colorado has excellent, modern, updated laws. Their enforcement is extremely lacking.
The FBI defines corruption as “a breach of trust” and that is my favorite, all-inclusive, and most general definition of the behavior. Frequently, and historically, corruption has been defined as a quid pro quo crime such as bribery, extortion, or graft. Personally, I consider corruption to be a lack of fiduciary responsibility or, more specifically, behaving as required by law. For the most public employees their jobs are clearly defined by local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Judgement is usually not required and of course illegal orders must not be followed. I believe failure to protect the people and their property as provided by law constitutes corruption.